2021 is going to be remembered for many things. One of them shall be the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan.The Talibanization of Afghanistan has been glorified by many in Kashmir. But what has been was its impact on Afghanistan? What has the Taliban takeover meant for the Afghans? The images have consistent been of despair and panic. The Afghans were trying to escape Afghanistan in any way they could. They were trying to get their money out of the banks. They were buying luggage and packing up whatever little they could to be ready to escape. After six months, the situation is much worse.
In all these months, the only happy pictures of Afghans have been of those who left their home country and reached elsewhere. They were beaming with relief that they were out of Afghanistan. If the Taliban takeover is so good for Afghanistan as is being projected in Kashmir, why are only those Afghans happy who have managed to flee?
On videos emerging from Afghanistan, the Afghans were crying about how life was when Taliban had first captured power. They had imposed a brutal interpretation of Islamic law according to which women and girls were not permitted to go to study. Music was banned. Women were not allowed to leave their homes without a male guardian even for visiting a doctor. People were stoned to death for adultery. A repeat of all this happened the second time Taliban came to power. Nobody was surprised, since the Taliban do not treat women even as humans. For them women are commodities and possessions. The Taliban have deprived women of their identity and livelihoods. Women can only become teachers or nurses. The Taliban have demolished systems that aided women who were victims of gender-based violence.
No Foreign Aid, No Food
As soon as the change of power was complete, food prices in Afghanistan went through the roof. People struggled to get basic supplies. They could not get their money out of banks. After the Taliban captured power, many Afghans ran away to live in makeshift camps, adding to the 400,000 Afghans who had been forced to leave their homes. The problems for Afghanis do not seem to have lessened. Six months after the Taliban captured power, Afghans are suffering more than ever. The Taliban takeover of the Afghanistan was much reliant on international aid. When the aid stopped, the Afghan economy collapsed. The money that people earned before was not much. After the Taliban takeover, the situation is disastrous. World Bank has estimated that close to 15 million Afghans across two million households are particularly vulnerable to the consequences of the bankrupt economy. With loss of jobs and income, poverty is predicted to rise from 54.5 percent to 72 percent. Since the Taliban came to power, boys have been called back to school while girls have been asked to wait until a nationwide policy for educating girls is made.
According to a report, 95 percent people in Afghanistan do not have enough food to eat. Nearly 23 million – more than half the population – are at a risk of starvation. The figure includes 3 million children under the age of five. The Afghans are living through extreme poverty in freezing winter.
The situation in Afghanistan is serious. New limitations have been imposed on women’s appearance and behaviour, affecting every area of their lives including their employment prospects.
Afghanistan is turning nightmares into reality
Afghanistan is turning nightmares into reality. I am sitting at home sipping tea, seeing so many social media posts and news reports about hoe people from my homeland are thrilled about the Taliban takeover. The social media is flooded with content about people posting that they want the Taliban to move and capture Kashmir. They want the Taliban to set up in Kashmir what according to them is Islamic rule. Is this what the supporters of Taliban in Kashmir want for their sisters and daughters? Is this what the men of our society want for the women of Kashmir? Is this what they want Kashmir to become – a case study of manmade catastrophe? Do they even realize what they are asking for?
After the Taliban have come to power, Afghanistan is going through severe economic crises. Without international aid, the number of malnourished children is rising. For the Afghans, life is a catastrophe daily.
We have had some taste of the barbaric attitude towards women. In the summer of 2007, a notorious militant by the name of Munna Janwari was active in north Kashmir. Munna Janwari decided to impose a dress code upon women. He got posters pasted in North Kashmir on which it was written that from now on, women would have to wear an abaya to go out of their homes. He insisted that this code would be followed in junior schools, senior schools and colleges. Munna was killed in an encounter. But in 2010 another breed of militants became active who again issued the diktat that women must wear abayas. Government Degree College Sopore made it compulsory for women to wear an abaya to the college. They did not allow any girl to enter the college premises if she was not dressed in an abaya. These militants issued notices to all beauty parlours in North Kashmir, particularly in and around Sopore, directing them to shut down. As a terror tactic, a parlour owned by a Sikh woman was set on fire. This incident happened near downtown Sopore.
Is This What You Want For The Women Of Kashmir?
Is this what the men of Kashmir want to dish out to the women of Kashmir? Do you want to Talibanize Kashmir? Do you want to support a regime that establishes a brutal interpretation of Islamic law? Before you support the Taliban, you must think this through. What the Taliban have done to Afghanistan – is this the fate that you want for the women and children of your society? If the women and girls of your society are brutally oppressed, do you think the men of Kashmir shall be able to secure happiness? In Iran, after the Islamic Revolution in February 1979, the female judges were dismissed and were given clerical duties. Shirin Ebadi was the first female judge of Iran. She won The Nobel Peace Prize 2003. “I and other female judges were dismissed from our posts and given clerical duties. They made me a clerk in the very court I once presided over,” she wrote of those years.
Is this the Kashmir that we want to build? Where women are treated as second-class citizens? Where women are refrained from holding important offices? Is this our glorious heritage? There is a popular English saying – Be careful what you wish. Be careful that you don’t wish for a crippled economy where children go hungry, women lose identity, healthcare and education is in shambles, and women who were earlier officers are begging on the streets so that their children can eat. God forbid! Nobody can wish for this fate for Kashmir.
Do not wish for the Taliban in Kashmir. Be careful what you wish for.